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South African Journal of Animal Science

Print version ISSN 0375-1589

Abstract

RIOS, F.G. et al. Effect of breed on performance and carcass characteristics of Mexican hair sheep. S. Afr. j. anim. sci. [online]. 2011, vol.41, n.3, pp. 275-279. ISSN 0375-1589.

To determine the effect of breed on growth performance and carcass characteristics in Mexican hair sheep, 48 lambs (average 38.9 ± 1.56 kg body weight, BW) were used in a completely randomized experimental design. The breed types assessed were 16 Pelibuey (PB), 16 Pelibuey x Katahdin (PB-KT) crossbred and 16 Pelibuey x Dorper (PB-DP) crossbred lambs. The lambs were fed a maize grain-based diet (88% concentrate and 12% forage) containing 155 g CP and 12.13 MJ ME/kg DM. The growth performance trial lasted 45 days. The average daily gain was significantly higher for the PB breed than for the PB-KT and PB-DP cross-breds. Feed intake in the PB and PB-KT was significantly higher than in the PB-DP. The feed conversion ratio was lower for the PB than for PB-KT and PB-DP lambs. Hot carcass dressing and leg perimeters were significantly lower for the PB than for the PB-DP lambs, and similar to that of the PB-KT lambs. The lowest dorsal fat values were measured in the PB breed, compared with both the PB-KT and PB-DP cross-breds. Mesenteric fat (as % of BW) in the PB was significantly higher than in PB-KT and PB-DP lambs. Empty rumen and small intestine weights (as % of BW) in the PB lambs were significantly higher than in the PB-DP lambs, but their large intestine was significantly smaller than in the other two breeds. It was concluded that the PB lambs have a better growth performance and carcass characteristics than the PB-DM lambs, but similar to that of the PB-KT lambs.

Keywords : Dressing percentage; longissimus dorsi; organ weights; lambs; Pelibuey; Katahdin; Dorper.

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